There’s no shortage of accommodation choices in Cairns, but this makes the task of finding wheelchair accessible accommodation a little daunting. Usually I start the process by selecting my desired hotel location and work from there.
On our recent trip to Cairns, AJ and I only had a hire car for one day, so we needed to be within walking distance of restaurants, shops and the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon. We planned to be sightseeing the majority of the time so we didn’t need a fancy hotel but location was key. Cairns Plaza Hotel provided a good base for our stay and they have wheelchair accessible accommodation.
We booked our trip last minute and given winter is high season in the Cairns area (everyone flying North to avoid the winter chill) we stayed in the accessible accommodation, even though BJ wasn’t with us, so we could share the details.
The wheelchair accessible room we stayed in has a double and single bed in the room and there’s sufficient room between the beds for transferring from a wheelchair.
The room is fresh and bright with wooden floors making wheeling easy. Staff indicated they’d happily move the table if this made the room more spacious and easier for a guest to circulate in a wheelchair.
Given I am a total tea-addict I’m always happy to see tea and coffee making facilities in a room. I also appreciate an empty mini-bar so I can store a few groceries which saves money when travelling.
The hanging space in the wardrobe is at regular height, as are the glasses and cups.
Cairns Plaza Hotel has one accessible room so I suggest booking well in advance.
The bathroom is compact but can be made more spacious by removing the additional shower chair if not needed. It’s wonderful to see two options of shower seating available to guests, not everyone likes the flip-down shower seats.
The bathroom has a step-free shower, hand-held shower head, flip-down shower seat and grab rails throughout.
The sink is wheelchair accessible with lever taps.
Some wheelchair users may find the circulation space in this bathroom difficult as the bathroom door opens back towards the shower but as I said above, moving the additional shower chair would assist with this.
We often speak to hotels about the difficulties guests in a wheelchair have trying to reach the hand-held shower if it’s left at the highest point. We ask them to make cleaning staff aware of this when cleaning the accessible rooms. It was therefore great to see a feature at Cairns Plaza Hotel which I’ve never seen before. Pictured above you’ll note a lever which adjusts the height of the hand-held shower. A guest can pull down on this lever which hangs low and brings the shower head down to a suitable height.
I’d love to see more hotels including this feature in accessible bathrooms.
I’m a big fan of a hearty breakfast when travelling. It helps me keep up with the pace of a jam-packed itinerary. Cairns Plaza Hotel offers a light continental breakfast or hot breakfast (menu choices). The chef cooked me a fabulous omelette which was the lightest and fluffiest one I had the whole trip. AJ was happy with a cheese croissant for breakfast.
The in ground pool at Cairns Plaza Hotel can be accessed from the front of the property. There are no steps into the pool area itself but there’s a high pool fence which has a lock. This wouldn’t be accessible from a wheelchair but as guests pass reception on the way to the pool, you could ask a friendly staff member to assist with access if necessary.
A guest laundry can be accessed by lift but it’s a tight fit in the room itself for a wheelchair user.
Entry to the hotel is step-free from the street through to reception.
Parking is available at the hotel but there’s no designated accessible parking.
We stayed at Cairns Plaza Hotel on a media rate so we could review the hotel. This hotel was in an ideal location for our stay and as always my opinions are my own.
CAIRNS ESPLANADE LAGOON
The Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is popular with locals and tourists needing to cool off. Lifeguards are on duty until 9pm , there’s a variety of swimming depths making it suitable for all ages and the sandy shoreline (one side only) is a magnet for kids keen to play and build sandcastles.
MLAK key locked change and bathroom facilities are available.
Fabulous Muddy’s Playground is opposite the Cairns Plaza Hotel and is popular with families for the variety of equipment and water play available, including a Liberty Swing (wheelchair accessible accessed with a MLAK key). A wheelchair accessible bathroom is also available.
THE ESPLANADE BOARDWALK
If you prefer a slower pace, then a walk, or wheel, along The Esplanade Boardwalk is the perfect way to start or finish a day in Cairns. The atmosphere is lovely with people exercising, taking in the view over the mud flats and having picnics along the length of the boardwalk.
The boardwalk is a mixture of smooth asphalt and wooden boardwalk. If you don’t like the feel of the wooden boardwalk with a wheelchair, then there is an asphalt cycle track which runs parallel so you have options.